Jets sign top pick to entry-level contract

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WINNIPEG, MANITOBA (AP) - First-round draft pick Mark Scheifele signed an entry-level contract with the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.

“I’m definitely very pumped,” Scheifele said. “To sign an NHL contract has been a dream of mine and to get a chance to play in a regular-season game is unbelievable.

“I want to be there so bad and I want to work my hardest and I’m going to really give it my all every practice, every off-ice workout, every game.”

The Jets have nine games to decide whether to keep the seventh overall selection or send the Kitchener, Ontario, native back for a second year of junior hockey with the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts.

Winnipeg general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said Scheifele has potential, but how long he sticks with the big club is up in the air.

“Right now, there really are no expectations,” he said.

“He’ll be in the lineup opening night (Sunday against the Montreal Canadiens) and we’ll take it day by day in those regards. There’s no guarantees of anything.”

Scheifele had two goals and two assists in his first game in the preseason and wound up with four goals (including three on the power play) and eight points in five games.

That was good for second place in NHL preseason scoring behind Dallas’ Mike Ribeiro, who had two goals and 10 points.

Jets captain Andrew Ladd said Monday he’s available to help Scheifele on and off the ice.

“I think we’re all excited for him today,” Ladd said. “I think everyone’s just been impressed with his maturity throughout the process.

“As a young player, you tend to be high and low and high and low. He’s just kind of steady, just keeps going and keeps an even keel with his play.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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